Dhaka, Oct 15 (UNB) - Bangladesh wants to make sure that the Rohingyas who are expected to return to Myanmar in the first batch of repatriation may have houses and other facilities to live in their own villages.
Foreign Minister AH Mahmood Ali said this as Bangladesh and Myanmar are set to sit later this month to discuss the Rohingya repatriation issues.
“We’ve completed the village-wise verification of 8,000 Rohingyas to know who came from which village. We want to make sure they can start living in houses in their own villages,” he told a press conference here on Monday.
The Foreign Minister mentioned that India has built 250 houses while China is building 1,000 more. “The returnees will first stay at reception centers in Myanmar and then will go to their villages.”
He said they will discuss the issue with the Myanmar side of joint working group at the upcoming meeting.
Myanmar has so far failed to take steps to ensure the safe and sustainable return of Rohingyas to their homeland.
“We’ve taken all the preparations about the next joint working group (JWG) meeting. The meeting is likely to be held on October 30, if not October 28,” an official told UNB.
Members of the JWG from Myanmar side will visit Rohingya camps in Cox's Bazar district.
Officials said Bangladesh will seek updates on what steps are taken for the safe and sustainable return of Rohingyas to their homeland from Bangladesh.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina at the 73rd UN General Assembly made three recommendations for solving the Rohingya crisis at its root, including the abolition of discriminatory laws, policies and practices of Myanmar against the minority group.
According to her second recommendation, Myanmar must create an acceptable environment by building trust and guaranteeing protection, rights and pathway to citizenship for all Rohingyas. If needed, it should create a “safe zone” inside the country to protect all civilians.
Her third recommendation says atrocious crimes against Rohingyas in Myanmar should be prevented by bringing accountability and justice, particularly in the light of recommendations of the Fact-Finding Mission of the UN Human Rights Council.
Foreign Minister AH Mahmood Ali emphasised the need for accelerating efforts to create a conducive environment in northern Rakhine State and build houses and villages for the returnees to facilitate repatriation.
Minister Ali along with joint working group members in August this year visited the northern Rakhine State and saw the trail of widespread devastation suffered by people there, said the Foreign Ministry officials.
The Bangladesh Foreign Minister also visited Shwe Zar village where around 148 prefabricated houses for returnees are being built with assistance from the government of India.
Bangladesh and Myanmar formed the Joint Working Group (JWG) on December 2017 to start repatriating Rohingya refugees by January 23, 2018.
Dhaka, Oct 15 (UNB) – Bangladesh and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) will sign two documents on defence and ICT cooperation during Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s KSA visit on October 17-18.
The Prime Minister is scheduled to leave here for Riyadh on Tuesday afternoon by a special flight of Biman Bangladesh Airlines.
Foreign Minister AH Mahmood Ali briefed the media about the visit at state guesthouse Padma on Monday afternoon.
State Minister for Foreign Affairs M Shahriar Alam and Foreign Secretary M Shahidul Haque were present.
Sharing titles of the deals, he said these are MoU on Defence Cooperation between Bangladesh and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and MoU on Cooperation in ICT sector.
The Prime Minister will have a meeting with Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud in Riyadh on Wednesday.
She will inaugurate the newly constructed building of Bangladesh Embassy in Riyadh in the afternoon on the same day.
The Prime Minister will leave Riyadh for Medina on Wednesday night after attending a business seminar to be arranged by Council of Saudi Chambers.
She will offer fatehah at the grave of great Prophet Hazrat Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him).
The Prime Minister will then go to Makkah from Medina and offer Omrah at night.
She will lay the foundation stone of Bangladesh Consulate own building at Jeddah on Thursday.
On Friday morning, the Prime Minister will leave Jeddah for Dhaka by a Biman Bangladesh Airlines special flight.
During the visit, Sheikh Hasina will highlight Bangladesh’s socioeconomic development to the Saudi government, said the Foreign Minister.
He said a number of MoUs -- both in public and private sectors -- are likely to be signed during the visit.
Minister Ali, among others, will accompany the Prime Minister during the visit.
Dhaka, Oct 15 (UNB) - European Union is providing EUR 80 000 (Tk7.84 million) in humanitarian aid funding to address the needs of the most vulnerable families in response to the collapse of the Padma River embankment in Shariatpur distirct.
The assistance will directly benefit a total of 15 000 people.
This EU funding supports the Bangladesh Red Crescent Society (BDRCS) in delivering much-needed assistance to those who have lost their homes through the distribution of tarpaulins and shelter tool kits, according to a statement of the EU.
In addition, multipurpose cash grants are also being provided to targeted households to ensure those most in need have enough means to meet their basic needs and sustain their day-to-day livelihoods.
This funding is part of the EU’s overall contribution to the Disaster Relief Emergency Fund (DREF) of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC).
An increase in water levels in the Padna River -- the largest river system in Bangladesh- that has been severely affected by erosion since early September -- during the first three weeks of September led to the sudden collapse of many vulnerable portions of its embankment.
More than 8 000 houses and public facilities located within a five-kilometre radius from the river have been washed away, resulting in the displacement of more than 43 000 people in the Naria and Zajira sub-districts, alongside a 1.5-kilometre stretch of main roads and infrastructures.
It is estimated that over 8 000 people will become permanently displaced. The event has also caused significant damage to crops, seeds and agricultural lands, impacting the overall food security of the affected populations. Food shortages have also been reported.
The European Union together with its Member States is the world's leading donor of humanitarian aid.
Relief assistance is an expression of European solidarity towards people in need around the world.
Dhaka, Oct 14 (UNB) - The government on Sunday briefed the diplomatic corps at the State Guest House Padma on recent political developments in Bangladesh, particularly on the verdict in the case of the 21st August 2004 grenade attack and the recently passed Digital Security Act 2018.
Foreign Minister Abul Hassan Mahmood Ali and Minister for Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs Anisul Haque briefed the diplomats.
They conveyed to the diplomats that the government of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has no intention to curb freedom of expression which forms the foundation of its democratic governance and the law would rather ensure people’s right to safe digital space.
Minister Ali narrated the incidents that took place on August 21, 2004 at a political rally organized by the then opposition party Awami League where the terrorists sponsored by the government of Begum Khaleda Zia hurled grenades on the Sheikh Hasina, the President of Awami League and the then opposition leader.
The attack killed 24 individuals including the leader of Awami Women’s League and injured many.
He informed the diplomats how the then government interfered in the investigation and derailed the whole justice process, said the foreign ministry in a statement.
The judgment has finally been announced after 14 years of arduous journey and the convicts have been awarded with punishment.
He also said the attack was planned and executed under direct supervision of Tarique Rahman, the son of the then Prime Minister Begum Khaleda Zia who now remains fugitive and upon conviction, life imprisonment has passed on him.
The Foreign Minister referred to the European Parliament’s Resolutions of 2014 and the recent verdicts of Canadian Federal Court declaring BNP as an entity that engages in terrorism and violent extremism.
Law Minister stated that the trial has gone through due process of law having heard 225 witnesses in total.
The Defense were allowed to exercise all rights guaranteed to them under the law.
Afterwards, in the context of International Day against Death Penalty the EU Ambassadors raised their general reservation on death penalty and asked whether Bangladesh has any plan to abolish or put moratorium on death penalty.
In response the Foreign Minister stated that Bangladesh is not abolishing the death penalty considering its public opinion and socio political reality.
The diplomats were also briefed about the newly passed digital security Act.
The Foreign Minister, referring to the provisions of ICCPR and European Convention Human Rights, explained why such law is necessary to ensure public safety and order.
The Law Minister referred to the concerns raised by certain members of diplomatic corps and informed that the law has been finalized after intensive consultation with the editors’ council and other journalist groups as well as diplomats.
He reiterated that, the government of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has no intention to curb freedom of expression which lays foundation of its democratic governance and the law would rather ensure people’s right to safe digital space.
The diplomats appreciated the briefing and expressed their eagerness to engage with the government in future.
Dhaka, Oct 14 (UNB) - The European Union (EU) has called on Bangladesh authorities to introduce a moratorium on executions as a first step towards abolition of capital punishment.
“The death penalty doesn’t act as a deterrent to crime, and any error of judgement is impossible to correct,” said the Heads of Mission of the EU Member States and the European Union Delegation in a statement here.
The 10th of October was the World Day against the Death Penalty. On that same day, 19 death sentences were issued in Bangladesh, reads the statement shared by the EU Embassy in Dhaka on Sunday.
The European Union and its Member States reiterated their absolute opposition to capital punishment in all circumstances and restate their commitment to the worldwide abolition of the death penalty.
They said the death penalty violates the inalienable right to life enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and is a cruel, inhuman and degrading punishment.
The signatories to the statement are Ambassador, Delegation of the European Union Rensje Teerink, Italian Ambassador Mario Palma, Spanish Ambassador D Alvaro de Salas Gimenez de Azcarate, Swedish Ambassador Charlotta Schlyter, France Ambassador Marie-Annick Bourdin, Charge d' Affaires at German Embassy Michael Schultheiss, Charge d' Affaires at Royal Danish Embassy Refika Hayta, Charge d' Affaires at Dutch Embassy Jeroen Steeghs and acting British High Commissioner Kanbar Hossein-Bor.